Indonesia's Bakries keen to oust Rothschild from PT Bumi Resources

Indonesia's powerful business family, the Bakries, are seeking to oust financier Nat Rothschild from the board of London-listed coal mining firm, Bumi Plc, barely a year after they floated the joint venture.

Ties between the Bakries and Rothschild have soured, especially after the latter recently called for ''a radical cleaning up'' of corporate governance at PT Bumi Resources, a group company. However, Rothschild had met Indra Bakrie, the chairman of the group, in Singapore recently, where the two reportedly thrashed out differences.

But the surprise announcement by the Bakries, seeking the ouster of Rotschild, currently the chairman of the listed firm, and four other directors, took analysts by surprise. Bumi shares fell by 4.5 per cent.

Bumi Plc was established after Vallar, a cash shell set up by Rothschild in 2010 to fund acquisitions in the mining sector, bought PT Bumi Resources, which was owned by the Bakries, through a reverse takeover in November 2010. It was later renamed Bumi Plc and was listed in London.

The Bakries sold a stake in Bumi last year for a billion dollars to another Indonesian coal miner, PT Borneo Lumbung Energi, which is backed by Samin Tan, a compatriot, following a debt crisis. Bakrie and Tan now have a 29.9-per cent stake in Bumi, while Rothschild has less than 12 per cent in the company.

The Bakries have now called for a shareholder meeting, seeking to replace Rothschild, Ari Hudaya, the chief executive, Andrew Beckham, the chief financial officer, and James Campbell, a former partner of Rothschild's.